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"The Saga of the Skydiving Beavers" sounds like the title for a quirky children's book, but it's also a fitting epitaph for a strange, true story of an unconventional approach to habitat resettlement. In 1948, Idaho's Fish and Game service decided the best way to keep beavers away from growing urban centers was to strap them into old surplus World War II parachutes and airdrop them in the backcountry. The weirdest part of this story? It worked.
It worked so well the man who came up with the scheme released a study called "Transplanting Beavers by Air and Parachute" detailing the process. Elmer W. Heter explained that beavers needed to be moved because they were a nuisance in settled areas but an asset to wilderness habitats. The issue was that it was hard to transport them to the appropriate places in Idaho because the backcountry was remote and hard to reach. At first, they tried to use mules and horses to carry the beavers into the wilderness, but the pack animals were "spooky and quarrelsome" when they had to carry angry, live beavers. Fair enough. The beavers hated it too, often refusing to eat or becoming "dangerously belligerent."